tv CNN Newsroom CNN July 21, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm PDT
the movie experience has always consisted of sitting in a dark room with people you know nothing about but feeling safe, feeling protected, knowing that when the lights go up, the fantasy world is over and you go back to your real lives. so the prayers of the country go out to those who didn't leave the theater and those who did and for the rest of their lives will have to live with the unfairness of a weekend at the movies. hello everyone. i'm frederica whitfield in atlanta. i want to bring you up to date on the investigation taking place in aurora, colorado. a press conference may begin just moments from now. of course we'll take you to that live as it happens. until then, here is the latest.
that loud pop you're hearing there, this is the bomb squad carrying out a controlled detonation at the apartment complex where the suspect lived this as they slowly work to enter the booby trapped apartment of the suspect james holmes and a police spokesman made this announcement. >> it's been successful in disabling a second triggering device. although not certain, we are hopeful that we have eliminated the remaining major threat. however, we will not know this until we enter the apartment. >> we'll bring in ed eleven dara just outside that complex. >> now all the teams that they have here at the apartment complex which is that red brick building, now those teams that are on the ground because of that detonation, they used a
water shot, which is like a water bottle that detonated and that allowed them to kind of get control of all the trip wires and various jars and things they were seeing believed had explosive materials that could detonate and cause serious injury if not kill somebody. they say they've been able to get a handle on the major devices in there and now we've seen them starting to pull things out. they're still trying to figure out whether they can go in there physically or if they have to use robots and that sort of thing. that will take several more hours we're told. they will continue to be here on the scene. of course, fredricka, this is significant because they need to try to preserve as much of what's inside that apartment as possible in the hopes that they can find evidence that would help explain this massacre. obviously they want to get their hands on any kind of computers that james holmes had in there or anything else that might offer some clues that would help them explain the motive behind this attack. >> all right. thanks so much from outside the apartment complex. appreciate that.
meantime we're learning a lot more about the people who died in the shooting rampage. 12 in all. nick valencia with us now. earlier you told us a bit about seven of the victims. are we getting more details about them or maybe even some others? >> we are. we're trying to independently confirm this. of course this is a very sensitive project and very sensitive task on our part to try to confirm these names. of course we have confirmed seven as you mentioned. a.j. bowic being one of them, the latest we have been able to independently confirm. you're looking at his remembrance page there his friends put together on facebook. he is described by friends that know him and relatives as a high school student at gateway high school. he had a fascination with la crosse, was a la crosse player in middle school. he went to the movies with his girlfriend and friend. both survived the attack by suspected shooter james holmes. he died, friends held a memorial service for him late friday.
also on the list one of four servicemen injured in that shooting, 27 years old, active duty u.s. air force. had not seen combat yet but his family says he was stationed there at his first force and the family is in california. they found out very late like many other family members. that being the biggest gripe so far. they say why aren't they learning more information and finding out sooner? john larimer is another serviceman. one of the four injured as well. 27. also 27 years old. he was in the navy for less than a year and he had not seen combat either. his family was notified of the death late, around midnight. they say we send our thoughts and prayers out to the families of the other victims and those still recovering in the hospital. we love you, john, and we will miss you always. matt mcquinn, also, his family waited agonizing hours before finding out about his death. he was at the theater in aurora, colorado with his girlfriend and
her brother and witnesses are telling reporters that he shielded his girlfriend from the bullets there of the suspected gunman james holmes, perishing early friday morning there at the theater. to make matters worse for his girlfriend because of hipaa laws she was not able to find out his condition. his family had to wait the agonizing hours. alex sullivan is described as a gentle giant by his friends. you see his father there canvasing aurora, colorado trying to find out more information yesterday when they just didn't know about his whereabouts or how he was or what he was up to, what he was doing. later they found out he had died in that shooting. he worked at the theater and actually went there to celebrate his 27th birthday if you can believe it or not he turned 27 on that day he was killed. and he was expected to celebrate his one-year anniversary with his wife on sunday. another of the seven names we've been able to confirm here at cnn, micayla medek among the
dead. 23 years old. we had an emotional interview this morning with gary tuchman who talked to her aunt. she is described as very spiritual, an independent girl who was great fun. it took her family 19 hours to find out she had died. jessica ghawi our last independently confirmed person on this list of deceased. her brother is being very active on social media. has created the trending hash tag rip jessica. she was first shot in the leg according to witnesses and later took a fatal shot to the head. great story about her that she was an aspiring sports broadcaster, aspiring journalist. we spoke to people that knew her. i tweeted her brother earlier just before coming on and he thanks us for honoring her legacy and remembering her. she would have been a great contribution to our industry and, unfortunately, died that day. ironically enough, fredricka, she also survived a similar
incident in toronto, canada last month in a mall shooting there. survived one attack only to die in another. >> gosh, heart breaking. so many terrible stories. so many lives lost. thanks so much. 12 in all. just a synopsis of the seven of the 12. >> we will have more. i want to reiterate. we'll have more on www.cnn.com colorado tributes and colorado victims for those of our viewers who are interested in finding out more about what we're reporting today. >> thank you so much for bringing that to us. appreciate it. one survivor choked back tears today as he described he, his new wife denise, and his best friend josh ducked for cover as bullets sprayed. brandon axelrod says he and his wife were slightly injured by shrapnel when a chair simply exploded. he says their friend josh protected them and was shot in the arm and the leg. >> i'm actually really okay. me, my new wife, and my best
friend, josh went to the movie together. it was right after the opening action scene. it was quiet and the canister or whatever going across the theater and then the fizzing of it and then the shooting. just -- the gun going off. josh helped me protect my wife. it wasn't expected but i'm glad he was there with us because the three of us together, you know, we piled on each other and we kept each other safe. and, you know, luck or faith, whatever you want to call it, kept us alive.
and, you know, josh while we were hugging each other in the aisle got hit in the arm and at some point because he is so tall and lanky, he got hit in the leg as well. he is doing really well. everybody here has taken really good care of him. he had surgery on his arm and his leg. he's just going through the process of working through the pain and, you know, just what happened to us. i know he's really active, so i know for him it's going to be tough with the rehab and everything he's got to deal with because it's, you know, his arm and then his opposite leg. so it's going to be tough. but we -- he has his brother in town. he's from south dakota originally. he has a good family and he's got auns we're going to get through it together.
that's how we're going to deal with it. >> loved ones reflecting on that horrific, late night early morning. so 6,000 rounds. how was the suspected shooter able to get that much arsenal? that is the question that a colorado state legislator has. i'll talk to her live. go ahead of him and win fifty thousand dollars. congratulations you are our one millionth customer. people don't like to miss out on money that should have been theirs. that's why at ally we have the raise your rate 2-year cd. you can get a one-time rate increase if our two-year rate goes up. if your bank makes you miss out, you need an ally. ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense.
all right. live pictures right now of a press conference that should take place momentarily this taking place at a municipal center there in aurora, colorado as an update of course on the investigation overall will -- we'll show that as it happens live. people in aurora, colorado will have an opportunity to come together sunday for a vigil to honor the victims of the movie theater massacre. among those attending, state representative for aurora rhonda seals. we're hearing president obama may also be in attendance or at least considering being in attendance in some capacity in aurora, colorado. representative, good to see you. you know, first, i understand this shooting at the movie theater took place just about three miles away from your home in the district in which you
represent. how have people come together and how are people coping overall in your community? >> you know, i think that overall the community is very, very shaken. i think we're in shock. i think we're still trying to get our arms around how such a tragedy happened to us. >> tomorrow there will be a vigil. there have been some other gatherings that have taken place since that shooting early morning yesterday. what will be significant about the kind of vigil that's being planned for sunday? >> right. i think it was similar to the kind of vigil that we had yesterday. basically it's just an opportunity for people to kind of come together as a community to kind of deal with the tragedy. there's a lot of hurt. there's a lot of uncertainty in reference to how do you move on? how do you live without that loved one? it's really shattered our whole community. yesterday we had the opportunity to pray and as we prayed we pray
for restoration. we pray for healing and we prayed for peace and we prayed for comfort for our community. >> how one lives without a loved one. that question can be asked to you how you've been able to move on and how do you live after losing your son and losing your fiance to an incident unrelated to what took place in the early morning hours of friday there in aurora? but instead, your son and fiance were to be witnesses in a murder trial and then they were killed. >> right. >> so how do you reach out to your constituents? how do you tell them, this is how you live without your loved one? >> right. i can tell you there's no formula to do it but i can tell you how i was able to kind of survive through it and i'm still surviving it is through prayer. but more than that it's the healing process. that's what i'm most concerned about with my community is the healing. i'm concerned about what happens
to my community after all the cameras are gone. right now at two high schools we have these hotline counselors available. i'm wondering what the community is going to be like six weeks, four weeks from now. what i know about my district is we don't have access. not enough access to mental health services here. >> what are you hoping to hear from this press conference that should take place somewhere maybe even less than two minutes or a minute from now under way at the municipal center? the investigation is widespread. everything into the suspect himself, how he obtained the firearms that he did, how he planned this attack, the booby trapping of his amount. what are some of the questions you're hoping to get answered? >> you know, what i really love about chief oates, who is our police chief here in aurora, is that he has been very upfront and candid with the press. if he has information that he can share, he will share it. and every time we have a press conference here in the city i
learn something more. it's kind of almost shocking and alarming some of things that i'm finding out like when i heard about his apartment being rigged for explosives. you know, those are the kind of things you don't hear ery day. so i'm quite sure, you know, he keeps building on more information that he's able to share with the public as they continue this active investigation. but what's real important is that they apprehended this person, which means that our community can be rest assured that this person is not out walking around. >> colorado representative rhonda field, thanks so much for your time. appreciate that. we'll go straight to the municipal center now where we have seen that some of the officials have just emerged. they've come out, getting close to that podium to update everyone on the investigation, what they're learning about the suspect james holmes. what they've learned perhaps from that booby trapped apartment. we understand that they were able to detonate some of the materials in that apartment
complex but it doesn't mean that they have ended that investigation by any stretch of the imagination. and we hope to also hear some answers as to how in the world such a very well planned attack could be executed. so the mayor steve hogan is that gentleman right there. let's see. doesn't look like he has actually approached the microphone but perhaps we're able to hear something. >> who represent federal, state, and local government and all the messages of support that we have received from literally around the world, people giving us their thoughts and their prayers. we can i think now start this process of -- natural process of grieving and healing. i started today talking with
representatives of our community of faith and how involved they are and want to be in our community and to be helpful to our citizens. also went over to university hospital and met with some of the families of some of those folks who are -- were so badly injured. and tried to do what little that i could do on behalf of the city know that we care, that we will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to try to help them. there will be more activities. obviously i'm not the only one involved here. as i mentioned we've got a lot of other elected officials. everyone has come together as a
team to try and do what needs to be done in this community to address this issue. we'll continue but i know you all need to hear a great deal more from the chief. and it's hot in the sun. so what i'd like to do for a moment though is again introduce the governor of the state of colorado, john hickenlooper. >> before i do say anything, i want to recognize the fact mayor hogan has been a rock through this entire thing. he has been a help coordinating this entire process to make sure that people know that this is isolated, that this is one event that has no relevance to what people should expect today or tomorrow or the next day. i think chief oates and you all have seen this has done an
incredible job. chief garcia, fire chief here in aurora, this morning his people were there. it is simply put just incredible the ability of these guys to work together. the fbi, the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, were working side by side all morning out on this -- off of colfax -- and that integration -- there is going to be -- if it's possible to have a silver lining in something like this, their ability to respond to disaster, they had police arriving in minutes and ambulances within two and a half minutes with 70 injured individuals including the fatalities being able to get them so incredibly rapidly so they were under a doctor's care is little short of a miracle. and it would not happen without a lot of training and i think we
are hoping the city council, the entire team, chief oates and all the first responders, what they've done, again, just demonstrates something that that's why this is, despite an event like this, i keep stressing that this is one of the safest cities and one of the safest states in the safest country in the world. and there's a bunch of folks on our staff that took their kids to the movies last night just as a way of trying to demonstrate that we're not going to be backed down. i spent a good part of this morning. we watched through the video cameras and the robots some of the activities in that apartment but we also went around the hospitals and visited the families and some of the survivors and kind of heard their stories. >> just can't help but move you to hear of people that through their actions, their selflessness, saved other people's lives. and, you know, if they're -- you
know, i don't know. it allows you to hopefully shift this a little bit and say, you know, what a -- what a miracle it wasn't worse and what an amazing thing it is to live in a community where there are so many individuals, despite this one unspeak bli troubled individual there are so many others that are doing what's right. we had a huge outpouring in terms of people who want to support the recovery. a number of these, of the people who are hurt were hurt badly. a number of them were going to have life times of recovery so we've already started raising money for that. we've authorized a transfer. there is a victim compensation reserve at state government. we've authorized the first installment of $200,000 to the 18th judicial district to make sure we help victims.
giving first.org is the central location where we're trying to collect resources to make sure medical bills can be paid and also so that people can have a fair shot at rebuilding their lives. you can't -- there is no way we can turn the clock back. there is no way we can reverse what has happened. but we can take this inconceivable event and do everything we can to make it better. so, again, i can't emphasize how much mayor hogan's leadership has inspired -- i got a call from mayor bach in colorado springs where they had all the fires. he heard about this notion that we were going to have a central fund giving first and his first statement was how can i help? how can the people of colorado springs help the people of aurora? and that's what makes this
country great. >> chief dan will also be coming up in a second. you'll also be hearing from chief mike garcia. just like to take a second and certainly again later we'll be saying more but the first responders in this tragedy were unbelievable. police department, the fire department, the call center people, the ambulance folks with rural metro, the number of jurisdictions that provided immediate support. if there is a silver lining it's that we didn't lose more lives. it's because our first responders not only did their job. they went above and beyond. one of the people that i met with this morning at the
hospital is somebody who was hit with buck shot in his back, broken rib, punctured lung, broken collar bone. came out his back at the base of his neck. he is doing well right now, believe it or not. and that's because he got to the hospital and because the doctors and nurses at the hospital do the best job that they can do. so these first responders cannot be thanked enough. there is no way. and i hope that as time goes on we can see more and more coverage of the job that they do. so with that, i'll give you chief dan oates. >> thank you, mr. mayor. i think i'd like to start with a discussion of the parastreet effort. i was on the phone with the
sheriff of the county. it was his robot in the location and we were joking about how we were going to pay for the robot if something went wrong. i'm happy to say that so far nothing has gone wrong and i think we've eliminated, well, we believe we've eliminated the major threats there but still have more work to do. i don't quite understand this bomb stuff. so i am very happy to ask the special agent in charge of the fbi to come up and explain what we were doing and accomplished this morning. we couldn't have done it without the fbi's help and the help of a number of bomb squads locally here in the metro area especially adams county but i'd rather jim explain all that. he'll take questions with regard to the para street location only. jim? >> thank you, chief. so the u.s. attorney, the fbi, the atf, we've all worked very closely in an integrated task force with the aurora police department to address this very complex investigation. i want to reemphasize what the chief just covered.
the local bomb squad here in colorado is one of the most capable in the country. with strong, preestablished relationships between all partners. the assets and technical expertise provided by adams county sheriff's office, the denver police department, the arapaho county sheriff's office, the atf, and the fbi collaborate routinely with suspicious packages in this area. but rarely anything this complex. last night the local, state, and federal resources near colorado were joined by the fbi's national assets from quantico, virginia. these additional assets are part of the fbi's critical incident response group in our laboratory division. they include unseen expertise including explosive sampling, chemist and device examiners, senior scientists from the fbi, post blast recovery experts, explosive operation specialists also known as bomb tehs, and
their purpose is to support the operations and preserve the evidence inside the apartment, including and probably most importantly the explosive and/or incendiary improvised devices that were found in the apartment. public safety is obviously paramount throughout the operation. my hat is off to the professionals from the aurora fire department who kept us safe really throughout the dynamic operations that occurred at para street for the last three days. a robot bomb technicians and dynamic explosive disruption tools were used to render safe multiple booby traps and indoor incendiary devices that were contained in the residence. briefly, what occurred, we first had to make entry with a robot. that robot was really skillfully
driven by one of the adams county bomb techs. once we got rid of the first booby trap which was really a wire across the front door, we then had to neutralize a hyperbolic mixture, form of an oxydizer, and some fuel we saw immediately inside. once that was disrupted, the technicians did just a marvelous job. they went to the next i.e.d. and/or i.i.d. filled with an unknown substance and had to attack a triggering mechanism. they did that very, very skillfully. we then saw multiple containers with acceleranaccelerants and w appears to be additional triggering mechanisms, wires, and fuses. i want to be clear and reemphasize what chief oates said earlier. the threat had been, you know, it went very, very well. the threat has not been